Micah 1:14
Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Give presentsi.e., thou shalt cease to give to Moresheth-gath the protection due from a husband to a wife: thou shalt give her a bill of divorce. The Hebrew word means either the presents sent with a daughter or the dismissal sent to a wife.

Achzib.—A town on the sea-coast between Accho and Tyre. Its name means false, deceptive; it is used of a river drying up, and disappointing the traveller. In like manner Achzib shall fulfil the import of its name, and prove a lie, a broken reed, to the kings of Israel. (See also Jeremiah 15:18, where the prophet asks God, “Wilt Thou be altogether unto me as a liar [Heb., Achzab], as waters that fail?”)

1:8-16 The prophet laments that Israel's case is desperate; but declare it not in Gath. Gratify not those that make merry with the sins or with the sorrows of God's Israel. Roll thyself in the dust, as mourners used to do; let every house in Jerusalem become a house of Aphrah, a house of dust. When God makes the house dust it becomes us to humble ourselves to the dust under his mighty hand. Many places should share this mourning. The names have meanings which pointed out the miseries coming upon them; thereby to awaken the people to a holy fear of Divine wrath. All refuges but Christ, must be refuges of lies to those who trust in them; other heirs will succeed to every inheritance but that of heaven; and all glory will be turned into shame, except that honour which cometh from God only. Sinners may now disregard their neighbours' sufferings, yet their turn to be punished will some come.Therefore shalt thou give - (bridal) presents to Moresheth Gath Therefore! since Judah had so become a partaker of Israel's sins, she had broken the covenant, whereby God had given her the land of the pagan, and she should part with it to aliens. The bridal presents, literally the dismissals, were the dowry 1 Kings 9:16 with which the father sent away Judges 12:9 his daughter, to belong to another, her lord or husband, never more to return. Moresheth, (literally, inheritance,) the inheritance which God gave her, was to be parted with; she was to be laden with gifts to the enemy. Judah should part with her, and her own treasure also.

The houses of Achzib shall be a lie - Achzib, so called probably from a winter brook, achzab, was to become what its name imported, a resource which should fail just in the time of need, as the winter brooks in the drought of summer. "Wilt Thou be unto me as a failing brook, waters which are not sure?" Jeremiah 15:18. This Achzib, which is recounted between Keilah and Mareshah Joshua 15:44, was probably one of, the oldest towns of Palestine being mentioned in the history of the Patriarch Judah. After having survived about 1,000 years, it should, in time of need, fail. The kings of Israel are here the kings of Judah. When this prophecy was to be accomplished, the ten tribes would have ceased to have any political existence, the remnant in their own lanai would have no head to look to, except the line of David, whose good kings had a care for them. Micah then, having prophesied the utter destruction of Samaria, speaks in accordance with the state of things which he foresaw and foretold.

14. shalt thou give presents to Moresheth-gath—that its inhabitants may send thee help. Maurer explains it, "thou shalt give a writing of renunciation to Moresheth-gath," that is, thou shalt renounce all claim to it, being compelled to yield it up to the foe. "Thou," that is, Judah. "Israel" in this verse is used for the kingdom of Judah, which was the chief representative of the whole nation of Israel. Moresheth-gath is so called because it had fallen for a time under the power of the neighboring Philistines of Gath. It was the native town of Micah (Mic 1:1).

Achzib—meaning "lying." Achzib, as its name implies, shall prove a "lie to … Israel," that is, shall disappoint Israel's hopes of succor from her (compare Job 6:15-20; Jer 15:18). Achzib was in Judah between Keilah and Mareshah (Jos 15:44). Perhaps the same as Chezib (Ge 38:5).

Therefore; forasmuch as thou hast imitated Israel in sin, and been at least an occasion to Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah to commit the same sins.

Shalt thou, Lachish,

give presents: though I do not remember the sacred story reporting this in matter of fact, we read not what presents were given, or by whom sent, or when; yet as it was foretold by the prophet, so no doubt it was fulfilled, and the inhabitants of Lachish courted the assistance of the Philistines against the Assyrian, and possibly against the Babylonian.

Moresheth-gath; a known city or town of the Philistines, called here Moresheth-gath to distinguish it from a town of the same name in the tribe of Judah and in the valley of Zephathah, where Asa smote Zerah, the Ethiopian king, who invaded Asa with a million of men.

Achzib: this was also a city of the Philistines not far from Mareshah, Ashkelon, and Gaza; it was a maritime town and strong. There was another city of that name toward Tyre also, but of this the prophet doth not speak in this place.

A lie; a lying refuge, or a prop that should break under them that leaned upon it, as Egypt proved a broken reed to Judah when trusted to: in the Hebrew there is an elegant allusion, which the translation cannot express.

To the kings of Israel; some say it is meant of the kings of Judah, but we find not that Hezekiah made any use of the houses of Achzib when Sennacherib invaded him. It is more probable the kings of the ten tribes are meant, and that Hoshea did rely on Gath. Achzib, &c., and on the friendship of the rest of the Philistines, to join with the Egyptians, or to give them a quiet passage through their country to help Israel against the Assyrian.

Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath,.... Since Lachish was the cause of leading Judah into idolatry, and was a city so very wicked; therefore it should be reduced to such distress as to send messengers with presents to the Philistines at Moreshethgath, a place near to Gath of the Philistines, and may include that and other cities of theirs, to come and help them against the Assyrians:

the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel; a city of Judah, Joshua 15:44; or of Asher, Joshua 19:29; the same with Chezib, Genesis 38:5; and called Ecdippa by Josephus (h), Pliny (i), and Ptolemy (k). The Jewish writers commonly call it Cezib, of which they (l) say many things about that, and the land unto it, being subject to tithes, the laws of the seventh year, and the like. Maimonides and Bartenora say (m) it is the name of a place which divided between the land of Israel, which they possessed who came out of Babylon, and that land which they enjoyed who came out of Egypt; but the Jews are not agreed about the situation of it. One of their writers (n) places it to the northeast of the land of Israel; but another (o) observes, and proves from one that resided in those parts some time, and diligently inquired into and made his observation on places, that Cezib, and also Aco and Amana, frequently mentioned with it, were all on the western sea of the land of Israel, that is, the Mediterranean sea; in which he was right, without all doubt: the place is now called Zib by contraction, of which Mr. Maundrell (p) gives this account;

"having travelled about one hour in the plain of Acra, we passed by an old town called Zib, situate on an ascent close by the seaside; this may probably be the old Achzib, mentioned Joshua 19:29; called afterwards Ecdippa; for St. Jerom (q) places Achzib nine miles distant from Ptolemais (or Aco), towards Tyre, to which account we found the situation of Zib exactly agreeing.''

Now the houses or families that dwelt in this place, or the idols' temples there, as some, and the idolatry exercised therein, should be a lie unto, or disappoint the expectations of, the kings of Israel; which, according to Kimchi, is put for Judah, who placed confidence in them, and had dependence on them: there is an elegant play on words between Achzib and a "lie" (r). The Targum is,

"thou shall send gifts to the heirs of Gath; the houses of Achzib shall be delivered to the people, because of the sins of the kings of Israel, who worshipped idols in them.''

(h) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 22. De Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 13. sect. 4. (i) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 19. (k) Geograph, l. 5. c. 15. (l) T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 36. 2. T. Bab. Gittin, foi. 7. 2. Misn. Demai, c. 1. sect. 3.((m) In Misn. Demai, c. 1. sect. 3.((n) Bartenora in Misn. Sheviith, c. 6. 1. & Challa, c. 4. sect. 8. (o) Yom Tob in Sheviith, c. 6. 1. e Caphtor Uperah, c. 11. (p) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 33. Ed. 7. (q) De locis Hebr. fol. 88. I.((r) &

Therefore shalt thou give presents to {p} Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel.

(p) You will bribe the Philistines your neighbours, but they will deceive you, as well as those of Jerusalem.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. Therefore] There is no logical sequence implied: ‘therefore’ often introduces a threatening passage—sin leading to punishment. The prophet abruptly turns to the people of Judah.

shalt thou give presents, &c.] More strictly, farewell-presents. The meaning of the whole clause is that Judah will have to give up Moresheth-gath. True, it was to an enemy that this town was to be surrendered, and ‘farewell presents’ seems to have been a technical term for the marriage-portion of a bride (so 1 Kings 9:16). But a loose use of the phrase is quite intelligible; the literal meaning is simply ‘dismissal.’

Moresheth-gath] The birth-place of the prophet (see Introduction), who here makes an allusion to its meaning—‘possession of Gath.’

Achzib] Mentioned as in the Shephélah, Joshua 15:44. Its name suggests the thought of deception or disappointment; hence the following words. It is probably the same as Chezib, and, remarkably enough, the passage where Chezib is mentioned contains a similar reference to the ominous purport of the name. ‘He (Judah) was at Chezib,’ we read in Genesis 38:5, ‘when she (Tamar) bare him.’ It was an appropriate birthplace for Shelah, who afterwards disappointed the just expectations of Tamar in regard to Judah.

a lie] Rather, a disappointing brook. The word for ‘brook’ is omitted as in Jeremiah 15:18, where the parallel clause explains the phrase to mean ‘waters that fail.’

the kings of Israel] ‘Israel,’ after the fall of the northern kingdom (predicted in Micah 1:6-7) is legitimately applied to Judah.

Verse 14. - Therefore. Because Judah has adopted the evil practices of Israel. The prophet here addresses Judah, and continues to do so to the end of the chapter. Shalt thou give presents to Moreshsth-Gath. The "presents" intended are parting gifts, farewell presents. The word is used (1 Kings 9:16) for the dowry given to a daughter when she is married. The meaning, therefore, is that Judah must relinquish all claim to Moresheth. The paronomasia is explained in two ways. As Moresheth may mean "possession," the prophet may be understood to say, "Thou shalt give up possession of Gath's possession." Or the play of words may depend upon the similarity of sound between Moresheth and Meorasah, "Betrothed" (Deuteronomy 22:29), "Thou shalt give dismissal (bill of divorcement) to the city once betrothed to thee." Moresheth-Gath, Micah's birthplace, is placed just south of Beit Jibrin, or Eleutheropolis, about twenty-five miles from Gaza (see Introduction, § II.). The addition of Gath to the name of the town is meant to mark its situation in the immediate neighbourhood of that well known city. So we have Bethlehem-Judah (Judges 17:7), Abel-Maim or Maachah (1 Kings 15:20; 2 Chronicles 16:4). Septuagint, Δώσει ἐξαποστελλομένους ἕως κληρονομίας Γέο, "He shall cause men to be sent forth even to the inheritance of Geth;" Vulgate, Dabit emissarios super heredidatem Geth. To give shilluchim the sense of "messengers" seems to be unprecedented. The houses of Achzib shall be a lie (achzab), a lying, deceiving brook, which disappoints the hope of the wayfarer, like "fundus mendax" (Horat., 'Carm.,' 3:1. 30). Septuagint, οἴκους ματαίους, "vain houses;" Vulgate, domus mendacii. The city shall be yielded to the enemy and lost to the Judaeans. Achzib (Joshua 15:44), hod. Ain Kezbeh, eight miles north of Adullam, is probably the same as Chezib (Genesis 38:5), where Shelah, Judah's son by Tamar, was born. The kings of Israel. "Israel" is here equivalent to Judah, having, according to the prediction of vers. 6, 7, lost its political existence (comp. 2 Chronicles 28:19, where Ahaz is called King of Israel). Micah 1:14And the judgment will not even stop at Jerusalem, but will spread still further over the land. This spreading is depicted in Micah 1:13-15 in the same manner as before. Micah 1:13. "Harness the horse to the chariot, O inhabitress of Lachish! It was the beginning of sin to the daughter Zion, that the iniquities of Israel were found in her. Micah 1:14. Therefore wilt thou give dismissal-presents to Moresheth-gath (i.e., the betrothed of Gath); the houses of Achzib (lying fountain) become a lying brook for Israel's kings. Micah 1:15. I will still bring thee the heir, O inhabitress of Mareshah (hereditary city); the nobility of Israel will come to Adullam. Micah 1:16. Make thyself bald, and shave thyself upon the sons of thy delights: spread out thy baldness like the eagle; for they have wandered away from thee." The inhabitants of Lachish, a fortified city in the Shephelah, to the west of Eleutheropolis, preserved in the ruins of Um Lakis (see at Joshua 10:3), are to harness the horses to the chariot (rekhesh, a runner; see at 1 Kings 5:8 : the word is used as ringing with lâkhı̄sh), namely, to flee as rapidly as possible before the advancing foe. רתם, ἁπ. λεγ. "to bind ... the horse to the chariot," answering to the Latin currum jungere equis. Upon this city will the judgment fall with especial severity, because it has grievously sinned. It was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion, i.e., to the population of Jerusalem; it was the first to grant admission to the iniquities of Israel, i.e., to the idolatry of the image-worship of the ten tribes (for פּשׁעי ישׂראל, see Micah 1:5 and Amos 3:14), which penetrated even to the capital. Nothing more is known of this, as the historical books contain no account of it. For this reason, namely, because the sin of Israel found admission into Jerusalem, she (the daughter Zion) will be obliged to renounce Moresheth-gath. This is the thought of Micah 1:14, the drapery of which rests upon the resemblance in sound between Moresheth and me'orâsâh, the betrothed (Deuteronomy 22:23). Shillūchı̄m, dismissal, denotes anything belonging to a man, which he dismisses or gives up for a time, or for ever. It is applied in Exodus 18:2 to the sending away of wife and children to the father-in-law for a time; and in 1 Kings 9:16 to a dowry, or the present which a father gives to his daughter when she is married and leaves his house. The meaning "divorce," i.e., sēpher kerı̄thuth (Deuteronomy 24:1, Deuteronomy 24:3), has been arbitrarily forced upon the word. The meaning is not to be determined from shillēăch in Jeremiah 3:8, as Hitzig supposes, but from 1 Kings 9:16, where the same expression occurs, except that it is construed with ל, which makes no material difference. For נתן אל signifies to give to a person, either to lay upon him or to hand to him; נתן ל, to give to him. The object given by Zion to Moresheth as a parting present is not mentioned, but it is really the city itself; for the meaning is simply this: Zion will be obliged to relinquish all further claim to Moresheth, to give it up to the enemy. Mōresheth is not an appellative, as the old translators suppose, but the proper name of Micah's home; and Gath is a more precise definition of its situation - "by Gath," viz., the well-known Philistian capital, analogous to Bethlehem-Judah in Judges 17:7-9; Judges 19:1, or Abel-maim (Abel by the water) in 2 Chronicles 16:4. According to Jerome (comm. in Mich. Prol.), Morasthi, qui usque hodie juxta Eleutheropolin, urbem Palaestinae, haud grandis est viculus (cf. Robinson, Pal. ii. p. 423). The context does not admit of our taking the word in an appellative sense, "possession of Gath," since the prophet does not mean to say that Judah will have to give up to the enemy a place belonging to Gath, but rather that it will have to give up the cities of its own possession. For, as Maurer correctly observes, "when the enemy is at the gate, men think of defending the kingdom, not of enlarging it." But if the addition of the term Gath is not merely intended to define the situation of Moresheth with greater minuteness, or to distinguish it from other places of the same name, and if the play upon words in Moresheth was intended to point to a closer relation to Gath, the thought expressed could only be, that the place situated in the neighbourhood of Gath had frequently been taken by the Philistines, or claimed as their property, and not that they were in actual possession of Gath at this time.

The play upon words in the second clause of the verse also points to the loss of places in Judaea: "the houses of Achzib will become Achzab to the kings of Israel." אכזב, a lie, for נחל אכזב, is a stream which dries up in the hot season, and deceives the expectation of the traveller that he shall find water (Jeremiah 15:18; cf. Job 6:15.). Achzib, a city in the plain of Judah, whose name has been preserved in the ruins of Kussabeh, to the south-west of Beit-Jibrin (see at Joshua 15:44). The houses of Achzib are mentioned, because they are, properly speaking, to be compared to the contents of the river's bed, whereas the ground on which they stood, with the wall that surrounded them, answered to the river's bed itself (Hitzig), so that the words do not denote the loss or destruction of the houses so much as the loss of the city itself. The "kings of Israel" are not the kings of Samaria and Judah, for Achzib belonged to the kingdom of Judah alone, but the kings of Judah who followed one another (cf. Jeremiah 19:13); so that the plural is to be understood as relating to the monarchy of Israel (Judah). Mareshah will also pass into other hands. This is affirmed in the words, "I will bring the heir to thee again" (אבי for אביא, as in 1 Kings 21:29). The first heir of Mareshah was the Israelites, who received the city, which had been previously occupied by the Canaanites, for their possession on the conquest of the land. The second heir will be the enemy, into whose possession the land is now to pass. Mareshah, also in the lowland of Judah, has been preserved, so far as the name is concerned, in the ruins of Marash (see at Joshua 15:44, and Tobler, Dritte Wanderung, pp. 129, 142-3). To the north of this was Adullam (see at Joshua 12:15), which has not yet been discovered, but which Tobler (p. 151) erroneously seeks for in Bêt Dûla. Micah mentions it simply on account of the cave there (1 Samuel 22:1), as a place of refuge, to which the great and glorious of Israel would flee ("the glory of Israel," as in Isaiah 5:13). The description is rounded off in Micah 1:16, by returning to the thought that Zion would mourn deeply over the carrying away of the people, with which it had first set out in Micah 1:8. In קרחי וגזּי Zion is addressed as the mother of the people. קרח, to shave smooth, and גּזז, to cut off the hair, are synonyms, which are here combined to strengthen the meaning. The children of thy delights, in whom thou hast thy pleasure, are the members of the nation. Shaving the head bald, or shaving a bald place, was a sing of mourning, which had been handed down as a traditional custom in Israel, in spite of the prohibition in Deuteronomy 14:1 (see at Leviticus 19:28). The bald place is to be made to spread out like that of a nesher, i.e., not the true eagle, but the vulture, which was also commonly classed in the eagle family, - either the bearded vulture, vultur barbatus (see Oedmann, Verm. Samml. i. p. 54ff.), or more probably the carrion vulture, vultur percnopterus L., common in Egypt, and also in Palestine, which has the front part of the head completely bald, and only a few hairs at the back of the head, so that a bald place may very well be attributed to it (see Hasselquist, Reise, p. 286ff.). The words cannot possibly be understood as referring to the yearly moulting of the eagle itself.

If we inquire still further as to the fulfilment of the prophecy concerning Judah (Micah 1:8-16), it cannot be referred, or speaking more correctly, it must not be restricted, to the Assyrian invasion, as Theod., Cyril, Marck, and others suppose. For the carrying away of Judah, which is hinted at in Micah 1:11, and clearly expressed in Micah 1:16, was not effected by the Assyrians, but by the Chaldeans; and that Micah himself did not expect this judgment from the Assyrians, but from Babel, is perfectly obvious from Micah 4:10, where he mentions Babel as the place to which Judah was to be carried into exile. At the same time, we must not exclude the Assyrian oppression altogether; for Sennacherib had not only already conquered the greater part of Judah, and penetrated to the very gates of Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:13-14, 2 Kings 18:19; Isaiah 36:1-38:22), but would have destroyed the kingdom of Judah, as his predecessor Shalmaneser had destroyed the kingdom of Israel, if the Lord had not heard the prayer of His servant Hezekiah, and miraculously destroyed Sennacherib's army before the walls of Jerusalem. Micah prophesies throughout this chapter, not of certain distinct judgment, but of judgment in general, without any special allusions to the way in which it would be realized; so that the proclamation embraces all the judgments that have fallen upon Judah from the Assyrian invasion down to the Roman catastrophe.

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